Hyundai opens new robot-run smart facility to build custom EVs

Entertainment

Hyundai officially opened its new Innovation Center Singapore (HMGICS) this week to expand the brand in the EV era. The “smart urban mobility hub” is run by robots (even robot dogs) and AI, providing new ways to buy custom Hyundai EVs.

After surpassing Ford and GM in US EV sales in the third quarter, Hyundai (including Kia) plans to keep the momentum rolling.

Hyundai officially opened its new smart EV facility this week as part of its strategy. South Korea’s largest automaker said the new facility will “lead the company’s future in the electrification era over the next 50 years.”

The tech hub provides an immersive experience with flexible vehicle customization, VR factory tours, test rides, and even a “smart farm.”

Hyundai said the new facility “provides unprecedented ways for EV buyers to interact with their vehicles and the Hyundai brand” with robots and AI. The seven-story, 68,900 m2 facility can build 30,000 EVs per year.

Designed to revolutionize how EVs are delivered, Hyundai’s new facility uses 200 robots to carry out around 50% of all tasks.

Hyundai using robot “dogs” at HMGICS (Source: Hyundai)

The robots perform assembly, inspection, and production. They also manage 60% of component processing, ordering, and transport.

Hyundai’s new smart facility offers custom EVs quickly

Hyundai’s new facility can build custom EVs faster using a cell-based production system. You can customize the vehicle from home and apply it to the car instantly before putting a deposit down.

Hyundai “guru” showing the IONIQ 5 (Source: Hyundai)

Before your first visit, you can book a virtual reality (VR) tour of the facility. Meanwhile, personal “gurus” will be available on-site for questions.

For a more immersive experience, you can test drive an EV around its 618-meter (675 yards) rooftop Skytrack.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 test drive on Skytrack (Source: Hyundai)

Hyundai has also included a “smart farm” to increase the region’s food supply. Since Singapore imports 90% of its food, the government is promoting new tech like smart farms.

The smart farm produces up to nine crops at the facility. Hyundai will use them in an upcoming farm-to-table restaurant opening next year.

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Limited (Source: Hyundai)

Hyundai has been building the IONIQ 5 at the plant since earlier this year and will add the IONIQ 6 next year. The robot-run facility will test new mobility solutions like purpose-built vehicles (PBVs).

Electrek’s Take

The news comes after Hyundai broke ground on its massive new EV plant in South Korea last week.

Hyundai has been accelerating EV momentum all year. After surpassing Ford and GM in EV sales in the US in the third quarter, Hyundai is doubling down.

Including Kia, Hyundai claimed 7.5% of the market with a combined 64,000 EVs sold, according to registration data from Automotive News. Although Tesla still leads by a wide margin (57.4%), GM (5.9%) and Ford (5.5%) fell behind.

The growth comes despite Hyundai EVs not qualifying for the $7,500 EV tax credit (only through leasing).

Hyundai also partnered with Amazon last week, enabling its EVs to be sold on the platform for the first year.

Hyundai’s global president, Jose Munoz, told Reuters, “I am still very bullish” on EVs ahead of the LA Auto show. He added, “Based on what I see, I need more. If I had more capacity today, I could sell more cars.”

Hyundai began construction on its first US EV plant in Georgia last October. A year later, the automaker says 99.9% of the foundation work is complete. Once up and running, the $5.5B mega plant will enable Hyundai EVs to qualify for the tax credit.

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